TSA Employees Are so Over-Surveilled That They Can’t Do Their Jobs

Oct 17, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Oh, the irony.

It seems that some of the only people in the world who can legally search through your belongings, view your body through an X-ray machine and essentially pat you down in public are experiencing some privacy issues themselves. An employee of the Transportation Security Administration, Jason Edward Harrington, recently came forward to The Atlantic and discussed how the micromanagement of some higher-ups affects worker efficiency on the job.

Employee surveillance is nothing new — especially when it comes to the TSA, since it’s essentially what they do. Harrington noted specifically that he did understand the need for surveillance and how it could actually provide security for the employees, however, it’s still a double-edged sword. More often than not, supervisors use surveillance footage to mine employees for infractions.

Michael McCarthy, a TSA spokesman, told The Atlantic that he is aware of the fairly fast and high turnover rate of TSA employees, attributing it to “low pay and high stress.” Yet, Harrington claims otherwise. “If they trusted us, respected us, you could really enjoy the job,” said Harrington. “But they didn’t.”

Thus, according to Boston University sociologist, Michel Anteby, begins a “vicious cycle” in which TSA employees channel their efforts into staying under the radar and evading the watchful eye of their supervisors, who in turn respond by intensifying surveillance measures even further.

Actually, under observation, it was found that TSA employees “wasted countless hours finding clever ways to evade the surveillance camera’s roving eye.” Other studies show that excessive surveillance, while still keeping employees “in line” on the surface, can actually increase stress, make employees feel more alienated in the workplace and decrease overall job satisfaction. TSA employees already encounter a considerable amount of stress, perhaps the eye in the sky does have something to do with that high turnover rate.

Featured image by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.